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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated pg ] All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: PG
Parental Guidance Advised

Review by Allie Smith

Banno Bunka Neko Musume Nuku Nuku (a.k.a. All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku) has a somewhat simple storyline: A scientist and his son were in the woods the son had to go to the bathroom and when he came back, he had a cat. People started shooting at the two. After the shooting died down they discovered that the cat had been killed by a stray bullet. The scientist decided to put the cat's brain into an android he had made, thus creating Nuku Nuku.

This series is generally cute and funny although there is the occasional sexual refrence made and somewhat graphic violence.

Follow up review by Steven M. Turner

This six part OAV is available in VHS format subtitled or as a hybrid DVD in both English and Japanese w/ subtitles. Note that there are other Nuku Nuku titles (i.e. Nuku Nuku: Dash) and that this review does not apply to them.

A child custody battle would seem to be a rather humorless premise for an anime title but then Ryu has some very strange parents... Ryu's CEO mother Akiko is determined to get him back; and with her family fortune, an entire Heavy industrial conglomerate, and her two loyal, highly skilled (and severely overstressed) assistants, Ryu's scientist father Kyusaku doesn't stand a chance... except for Nuku Nuku. One part teenager, one part experimental android, and one part... cat. Kyusaku's greastest invention; unfortunately she still has a few minor flaws. She's as much big sister as bodyguard to Ryu, although she still has a lot to learn.

This OAV thrives on the squabbling between Ryu's parents and the battles that result between Nuku Nuku and Akiko's heavily armed minions. Nuku Nuku's naivete and the inevitable problems that an android with the brain of a cat will have trying to interact with human society are fully exploited. The over-the-top level of the fighting and emotional scenes is higly reminiscent of Project A-ko for those who have seen that title.

The animation quality is good, but does go down a bit in the second half of the series. Changes in the production crew may be to blame for this. This title was made in 1992 so to some it may seem quite dated, but usually it is adequate or better.

Some notes on the dubbed version:
With one notable exception the voice actors did a fairly decent job. While in a few spots they were shaky, in others they were good and some of their improvisations worked well. The dialogue does not follow the original well at all and this sometimes does change the context in several situations. The real trouble with the dub are the VA for Ryu who sounds too old sometimes (liveable) and the VA for Nuku Nuku herself. I concede that the English VA did try very hard but she has a voice I can only describe as "screechy"; it has to be heard but it does take some getting used to.

By comparison the Japanese cast is excellent; only the two English VA for Akiko's henchwomen Arisa and Kyouko are the equals of their Japanese counterparts. The Japanese VA for Nuku Nuku (Megumi Hayashibara) does an outstanding job including doing the vocals for the series opening and closing theme songs. I recommend viewing the subtitled version; the difference between the VA for Nuku Nuku herself is just too overwhelming to overlook.

Parent's Guide Rating:

yellow (parental guidance advised)

Nudity/Sex: Parents should also note that there is mild cursing and refrences to sex (ex: Nuku Nuku,upon making someone angry at a local bathhouse,gets pinned to the floor with a towel wrapped around her.)

Violence: Constant silly violence, mostly of equipment getting destroyed -- often with two very unlucky pilots trapped within.

Parents Guide Notes: In general there are very few,very mild uses of profanity. The English dub has a few more in certain episodes but in this respect I think they did a good job. The violence is bloodless; lots of bumps and bandages but no one gets killed; quite unrealistically in fact. There is 1 brief nude scene in one episode, several close-ups of girls underwear, and some close up shots of female breasts. Most are brief or covert but a few stay on screen for a few seconds. Quite a few scenes of males being overstimulated by Nuku Nuku's charms but most are quite harmless. One scene of a man masturbating in his sleep which was quite unnecessary but is over in seconds.

A break down by episode:
Phase01: No real issues besides the violence. A brief scene at the start which show the kitty in one of the very rare uses of blood after being shot. This is the only "death" in the entire series and Nuku Nuku lives on in her new android body.

Phase02: The usual violence, mecha style this time, rare mild profanity + the one masturbation scene mentioned above.

Phase03: Starts with Akiko trying to be a housewife by preparing a fresh fish as part of dinner. She gets as far as sticking the knife in (with gushing blood) and then can't continue. She leaves the knife in there a long time too, for my taste. Mild profanity; some violence and destruction.

Phase04: This one is the worst from a Parents Guide point of view. While the episodes are mostly stand alone types, this one introduces Eimi who plays a large role in the finale so skipping this one will lead to questions later. Has mild swearing,the one brief nude scene, some sexual innuendo / situations, a brief bondage / torture scene, and Nuku Nuku and Eimi spend at least half this episode fighting in their underwear. Mass, MASS destruction; no one gets killed on screen but a crater the size of a city block might warrant some discussion with junior as to how that really isn't quite realistic.

Phase05: Has some very short skirts and loads of violence; after #4 this is tame.

Phase06: The usual cartoonish violence; the English dub adds a few extra profanities. Ok with the exception of one scene of the android Eimi crashing through the windshield of a car, with a totally gratuitous shot of her unmentionables left on screen entirely too long.

This title could be used by a parent to explore the relationships involved in a family where the father and mother are separted. Overall tastefully done as both parents clearly love their son Ryu. Several scenes explore Nuku Nuku and others having to "grow up" and accept responsibilities could also be useful. One episode shows a Japanese public bath house which might warrant a discussion. The violence and destruction are shown as nearly bloodless; Arisa firing an assault rifle in a crowded restauraunt without hitting/injuring anyone SHOULD warrant a discussion!! (Lots of this)

Overall I give this a PG rating. By episodes only Phase 04 might rate an M; just watch it first and decide for yourself. Enjoy!

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